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2010s / Marketing Blunder - White Coca-Cola Cans
On December 1, 2011, Coca-Cola temporarily replaced its traditional red cans with a white design to draw attention to the plight of polar bears in the warming arctic. While the cause may have been good, the public's reaction to the move was overwhelmingly negative. People routinely mistook regular Coca-Cola for Diet Coke which comes in a silver can. The company received complaints from devoted fans of both Coca-Cola and Diet Coke: Diabetics and others who cannot consume sugary drinks were especially miffed when they bought the wrong product. Sales suffered as people who were looking for the traditional red cans couldn't find them. One convenience store owner in New Jersey reported that several customers tried to return opened cans when they realized they had purchased regular Coke instead of Diet Coke. On January 1, 2012, Coca-Cola ended the polar bear 'awareness program' and announced a return to the red cans of its popular 125-year-old beverage. The lesson of Coca-Cola's white can debacle? "Don't mess with the brand," said one marketing expert.